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In German what is, or is there an equivalent to "ing"?

I.e., when I want to say for example, "we are practicing" is there a consistent rule or suffix that I would use to indicate that this action is currently ongoing?

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2 Answers 2

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There isn't. German doesn't mark the continous aspect of an action in its verbs. (The perfect aspect of an action is handled very differently as well.)

If you want to tell that an action is ongoing, you can use an adverbial as e.g. gerade or im Moment. But that sounds clumsy most of the time which is why we only mark the continous aspect if it cannot be told from context anyways.

We practice. — Wir üben.

We are practicing. — Wir üben.

We are practicing at this moment. — Wir üben gerade.

And yes, that means when you are translating from German to English, you have to understand the context and invent those markings English requires out of thin air.

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    There is the Partizip 1 in German which nearly always ends in "end", but that's not at all used like the English present participle, even though, taken literally, it means the same thing. Sep 22, 2023 at 21:07
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    Yes, you understand correctly. The adverbials are only placed if it makes a semantic difference and there is not enough other context.
    – Janka
    Sep 23, 2023 at 1:21
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    Well, there is the niederrheinische Verlaufsform ("Wir sind am Üben.") but it isn't exactly considered standard German.
    – AndreKR
    Sep 23, 2023 at 2:15
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    @AndreKR That's just one of many possible Verlaufsformen
    – Bergi
    Sep 23, 2023 at 4:37
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    @Sompom What's wrong with "befeuchtend"?
    – Bergi
    Sep 23, 2023 at 20:12
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It's literally "-ung". Used for nouns, but not as participles

"-end" used as a standalone, without a verb, as a participle.

It doesn't work like in English.

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    Can you provide an example? (But *** *** without *** *** "Edit:", "Update:", or similar—the answer should appear as if it was written right now.) Sep 23, 2023 at 17:43
  • Splittung > splitting. But splittende "splitting" Splittung as it is a noun is written with a capital letter, while splittende is not as it is writtzen without a capital letter.
    – user56864
    Sep 26, 2023 at 17:56

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